Bell Autonomous Pod Transport Completes Past Visible Line of Sight Flight – Drones Information


In the race for viable air solutions for the transportation of goods and information, Bell’s Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) has taken an important step on this path: flying beyond the line of sight (BVLOS). Delivering goods and information to critical – sometimes inaccessible – locations requires an airplane that can autonomously fly long distances and land vertically. Earlier this year, Bell’s APT demonstrated that it could handle this type of flight through its first BVLOS flight with a 60 pound payload at an Oklahoma test site.

This new development is made possible by Bell’s partnership with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO). In an agreement announced in late 2019, CNO and Bell announced that Bell had joined CNO’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (UASIPP) team, which will conduct FAA UASIPP flights and tests to test for future advanced UAS To prepare operations. CNO is one of nine active UASIPP locations selected by US Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao in May 2018. Both organizations have a common interest in growing technology for communities, which is why CNO Bell has assisted APT flight tests in their testing location in rural, southeastern Oklahoma.

Bell and CNO signed an additional agreement in early 2020 to build a relationship that will offer Bell a flight test site for Bell’s unmanned vehicles. CNO’s obvious proximity to Dallas-Fort Worth and its commitment to building facilities that meet the requirements for this operation made it an obvious choice for Bell’s flight test activities. In return, Bell advises CNO on the establishment of its Emerging Aviation Technology Test Center in terms of safety and efficient flight operations.

Bell is committed to expanding APT’s BVLOS flights to support any loss of medical care, basic supply chain operations and even kiosk deliveries. Our strong partnerships and continuous innovations bring us closer to achieving this future goal on a flight.

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